This summer marks 10 years of the Trans-Savoie Multi-Day Enduro in the French Alps: The perfect excuse to get nostalgic and look back over how we’ve evolved since our pilot event back in 2012, and to take stock about where we are going with the Trans-Savoie in the future.
Its also a good time to mention that we’ve still got 20 spaces left for the 2022 event. If you’re still trying to resist the urge…whatever you do…DO NOT watch our latest movie.
In reviewing a decade’s-worth of old footage and combining it with some spectacular new high-altitude drone shots to make this new edit, we were reminded of the many highs and lows along the way. But as the next phase of our evolution continues this summer with our new “50/50” format, there’s one thing we’re clear about: Our proudest achievement is not the amount of alpine single-track we’ve discovered in that time per se; its the human element of bringing people together with a common cause in such a beautiful place, in order to see and enjoy it for themselves.
Creating Lasting Memories Brining a bunch of strangers together for a week of thrills that are shared so intensively with everyone else on the start-list, is a sure-fire way to create new connections, lasting friendships, and vivid memories that stand the test of time. It was heartbreaking to watch through old footage of old participants – all of whom we now consider to be more than just that – knowing that more-than-one of the smiling faces on tape are sadly no longer with us. We try to remind ourselves daily that the best way we can honour these awesome people, is to get right back out there and not to waste even a minute of the precious time that we do have. With the necessary restrictions on human interaction in recent times, this sentiment has become even more poignant. Perhaps this is why we’ve focussed on the ‘emotional’ side of things, in our 10th-Anniversary video that we’re releasing today.
Remembering Those Who Made it All Possible Anyone with a craving for outdoors, adventure, and adrenaline (we’d guess that’s most of you reading this) recognises that our ‘best’ memories are often formed when we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone; when we venture beyond the familiar. We also notice that many of our strongest memories are also from our childhood and adolescent years…but why is this, exactly? Bare with us…
Psychologists have theorised why time appears to speed up as you get older. Apparently, this is (in part) because your brain pays more conscious attention to ‘new’ and ‘novel’ experiences; and the more you’ve already done in your life (i.e. the older you are); the less likely you are to find something as ‘novel’, and therefore to pay full attention to it. Under this hypothesis, they recommend the best way to reverse that feeling, is to put yourself way outside of your regular routine and/or comfort zone. Riding flat out, blind, down 22,000m+ (65,000ft+) of all-natural, high-exposure (and at times, high-consequence) single-track in a week, sure is one way of getting your brain’s full attention.
We feel sure that anyone sporting a Trans-Savoie Finisher’s headset-cap retains a stack-load of vivid memories to go with it. It’s those memories and emotions which we genuinely feel still bind us all together, a long time after we return to our regular routines. A big shout out to each and every one of you, if you’re reading this! It may sound obvious, but it can’t be said enough: without staff, volunteers, and especially the participants themselves, none of this would have been possible, and our own memories of the past ten years would likely be a lot more mundane as a result.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better In the run in to our first full-scale event, many of you wondered exactly what they’d signed up for. What was a 6-day, lift-assisted enduro-rally across the biggest mountains in Europe going to actually involve? An invite-only test-event in 2012 taught us that attempting to double-taping 300km+ of remote walking paths was never going to work out (the moment the first person blows through the tape – or more likely an inquisitive Savoyard cow eats a crucial bit of signage just at the wrong junction – and half of your field end up a VERY long way down the wrong side of a VERY big mountain). Fast-forward to 2022 and the format has evolved to become fairly well defined. There’s now a superb global selection of bucket-list, multi-day-enduro “Trans-XXX” races you probably have on your hit-list. With borders and travel opening up again this year, there’s a lot to look forward to if like us, you are already long overdue a fresh hit of adventure.
Whilst we never set out to create a suffer-fest, the sheer size, quantity and variety of terrain on offer here in Savoie, meant we always expected the Trans-Savoie to become synonymous with an expectation of “Big”. That first year, we probably pushed it a bit too far and tried to cram in just one stage too many each day (feedback such as “if it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you a better person” wasn’t really what we were aiming for!). With each subsequent edition of the Trans-Savoie we’ve have gradually evolved away from out-and-out race format, to a stronger emphasis on “it’s all about the Journey”. Yes, that might just be the most over-used cliché, but in this case, it’s bang on the money. With the new Trans-Savoie “50/50” format, we’ve taken this natural progression to its logical conclusion.
In 2017 we took a year-off to search for a new perspective and to focus on other projects such as our pairs-format series Enduro2. That break ended up as 4 long years without Trans-Savoie whilst we pondered over exactly how we could keep things fresh, interesting and exciting for our future participants…and for ourselves. An unexpected global pandemic in the time, didn’t help. In 2021 we introduced our re-booted Trans-Savoie as “50/50” with minimal fanfare and an ultra-small field of only 25 riders…and the vibe was undoubtedly all-the-better for it! A smaller field meant we could ditch our traditional tent-city / mobile-catering setup for more-than-half of our overnight locations; to take advantage of Alpine lodges, hostels, and mountain restaurants instead.
The Podium’ is No Longer Our Focus There’s undoubtedly a hardcore group of Enduro Racers out there who may feel that something has been lost without the formal element of competition and the potential glory that awaits the fastest amongst you. But unlike ten years ago, there are now a stack of alternative multi-day enduro races that will give you just that, no questions asked. Trans-Savoie 50/50 provides an alternative option for those of you who want the same challenge, adventure, camaraderie, high-adrenaline and motivation to push your personal limits that you get from a race – but without the extreme pressure nor necessary compromises of running a formalised, competitive event. Many of you, we suspect, will be reading this and nodding along in approval (or perhaps reluctantly accepting that your days of podium-chasing might be behind you). Indeed, former pro and hardcore-privateer racers still make up a decent proportion of 50/50’s start-list.
Trans-Savoie 50/50 isn’t only a nod to our equilibrium between race and fun. Its also our very enthusiastic endorsement and welcome of e-bikes into the event – with 50% of the entries reserved for our e-assisted buddies. The course has been especially crafted to run e-bikes and regular bikes shoulder-to-shoulder and the 2021 edition proved very clearly that with enough logistical planning, there’s no reason to segregate e-bikes and regular bikes as if we were two completely separate breeds. We see e-bikes as just additional, eco-friendly method of up-lifting, and a great way to access ever-further into the backcountry. Since Trans-Savoie has always been heavily biased towards shuttle and ski-lift liaisons (ratio of uplifts to human effort on the climbs is typically at least 4-to-1), we’d see it as especially hypocritical to exclude electrically-assisted riders from the party, or to call them out for not having ‘earned their turns’, whatever that even means. That said, weekend-warriors beware: Trans-Savoie is absolutely not a walk-in-the-bike-park, and self-sufficiency with at least a pinch of general mountain awareness is essential to completing your adventure with a smile on your face. This ethos means we don’t allow battery swaps-out once you’re out on the hill each day – so you’re either running in ECO/TRAIL mode, OR carrying a second battery in your backpack (the latter is permitted but not recommended!).
Essential Info: 20st to 27th August 2022 Savoie, French Alps (Departs – Bourg St. Maurice, nearest Airport – Geneva) 6-day Enduro Adventure 22,000m+ descent, 6,000m ascent (on top of shuttles and ski lifts). Limited to 50 Entries: 25 E-Bike / 25 Regular Bike Strong Focus on Adventure and Camaraderie, rather than Racing. 50% Dormitory-style accommodation, 50% camp-based. All food, shuttles & lifts, medical support etc included in entry price.
Cost to Enter: €1495 all-inclusive per rider. Covid cancellation insured, including full refund in event of travel restrictions or quarantine measures (See cancelation policy for full info). Volunteer opportunities are available for on-bike mountain crew, 4X4 drivers and paramedics/medical professionals.
How to Register for Trans-Savoie in 2022 20 entries are still available for this year’s Trans-Savoie 50/50. Click here to check it out. If you’re keen on the adventure but would prefer the lower-pace of a guided tour, Guided-Tour Options are also available on a limited basis (June-September). Head over to our Website for more info or follow our social media.